Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is hosting the North Country’s fourth “Inn-to-Inn” hike on Saturday, May 13. The 11-mile “Grand Hike to the Essex Inn” will be on CATS hiking trails and scenic back roads from Wadhams to the Essex Inn where there will be a “block party.” The celebration features the Zip City Blues Band, restorative yoga and chair massage provided by Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, kids crafts, a photo booth to commemorate the event, and a buffet dinner.
“The Grand Hikes are fabulous,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. “Over 200 people come out to hike through the beautiful Champlain Valley countryside. We’re starting again in Wadhams because people really enjoyed beginning the hike on the new Long Valley Trail.”
Participants are encouraged to park in Essex where free shuttles, starting at 11:00, will take them from the Essex Inn to Wadhams. People can hike the whole route or join at designated “oases," staffed with volunteers to provide refreshments. The block party begins at 4:00, so hikers should estimate their walking times and plan to arrive in Essex accordingly. People parking in Wadhams are to arrange their own transportation back from Essex. Check-in is from 11:00 – 12:15 p.m. across from Dogwood Bakery in Wadhams.
“CATS goal of having trails from town-to-town led to idea of having the Grand Hike,” said Essex Inn Owner Rick Dalton. “Our goal is to attract people from outside our region to hike CATS’ beautiful trails and create a niche for inn-to-inn hiking. We look forward to partnering with other inns so hikers can arrive at the Essex Inn, have a nice dinner, a good sleep, and pick up a boxed lunch for their hike the next day. We’ll offer transportation to trail heads and shuttle their luggage to other inns in the area.”
Evan George, CATS Board Chair added, "The Grand Hike brings people together –young and old, near and far, serious hikers and folks just out for a stroll. The outstanding spring beauty of the Champlain Valley along the CATS trails has a remarkable equalizing effect."
Everyone is welcome for the hike and block party, which non-hikers can also attend. There is a fee of $20/person to pre-register for the hike or $25/person on the day of the event; children under 17 are free. The block party is free. To preregister go to the CATS website www.ChamplainAreaTrails.com or call 518-962-2287.